Category Archives: interviews

Quality of Interviews

The Portland show last night sounds like another success for the band, which is great.  I have spent part of my day watching clips from the show and getting a better understanding of how the screens work.  In my search for all things Duran, I caught a new interview from Portland, which you can view here.  While I love watching and hearing interviews but I have to admit that I’m getting a little tired of the silly interviewers and the poor quality of questions.

Can anyone remember the last time Duran was interviewed by a male unless it was a radio interview?  It also seems to me that they are interviewed by women and women who are giggling or seem a bit nervous or something.  Now, I can understand this to some extent since the members of Duran are not only famous but also are good looking.  Yet, I wonder why these interviewers can’t control their nervous excitement better.  It is their job after all.  This one actually confused Roger for Andy!  At one point, she asks whose lap she can come sit on?!  Really?!  Who does that?!  Your job is to interview them, not flirt with them!  Then, of course, she spent a lot of time talking herself when she could have been asking them questions or allowing the fans in the audience to ask questions.  For example, she talked about how many bands have been ignoring Portland.  Okay.  Why we do need to know this?  Then, of course, I was frustrated by the questions that were asked by her.

One of the first questions she asked was about what they can’t live without while on tour.  I’m okay with that question but then she dived into who has an iPhone and who has a Blackberry.  Why do we care about that?  Even Roger asked if this is a communication conference as opposed to an interview.  Of course, she followed up with some other questions about being tour, including who is the biggest diva and who is the biggest prankster.  Based on the question about pranks, I wondered if she had any clue about what Duran is like but then later she clearly knew that John is sensitive and asked him about when the last time he cried.  I couldn’t figure her out.  Then, when he answered in an uncomfortable but forthcoming manner, she didn’t know what to do with that.  He talked about a scene in a movie in which a character had lost his father, which John could relate to, and she didn’t know how to follow up on that.  Clearly, he could connect because he lost his father like this character.  Duh.  Quickly changing the subject, she asked about being metrosexual.  Hasn’t that topic been talked about to death with this band?  There were so many questions that could have been asked that would have been more current. 

There are many questions that I wish she had asked but didn’t.  One thing I would have asked about is the difference between the setlists for the UK rehearsal shows and these shows.  I would have asked why they bothered to rehearse songs like Secret Oktober and Shadows, if they were not planning on playing them.  Maybe I would have asked if they were aware that most of their fans are sick of hearing HLTW?  I would have asked about Simon’s voice.  Yes, it has been documented that he went through vocal therapy to get his range back but is that continuing?  What is he doing on tour to ensure that his voice remains in good form?  Then, I think about a lot of fans who are so dang focused on the charts, the album sales, and the ticket sales.  I could ask how much that stuff really matters to them.  I would ask if there is a plan to get them back in the media spotlight.  I’m sure that a lot of people would want to know about the plan for Girl Panic since the video is coming out in November.  I could go on and on and I’m sure I am not the only one who could.

My point being that interviews are a chance to learn something new about the band but about current events with the band.  I don’t want to hear about their metrosexual qualities anymore.  I want to know about Duran and their career now in the fall of 2011.  That said, I would still watch the video because the boys look good and handle the interview well. 

-A 

YouTube Live with Duran Duran

Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time watching Duran Duran on YouTube live.  For those of you who did not see it, it was an almost hour long live program on YouTube where the band members were interviewed and received questions from both a live audience and via youtube.  In my opinion, these types of things can either be really fun or really annoying depending on both the interviewer and the questions received.  In this case, initially, I was concerned that this would be one of the annoying ones but was pleased to find out that it was enjoyable instead!

The program began with a young female interviewer (why are they always female???) who tried to introduce the band.  This one seemed to not know very much about them and relied on typical Duran questions regarding the new album, working with Mark Ronson, videos, fashion, etc.  Unfortunately, she didn’t always know how to respond to their answers and even when she did, they seemed off.  For example, she asked them to explain their writing process and she didn’t have anything to say in return after they talked about just jamming together until something catches someone’s attention.  She also commented that John looked tan after he said that he lived in Southern California.  Really??  John is tan??  Luckily for her and for me, the band began taking over and started filling in the empty space with joking and teasing each other.  For me, this is the best thing to see!  First, I heard John give Simon a hard time about his weird greenish shoes, which particularly entertained me because I actually commented on them to myself as soon as I saw them!  So silly!  Then, there were discussions about how Roger wasn’t going to be allowed to wear clothing for the next tour.  Along the lines of fashion, I loved the question about what they think each color sounds like and they actually tried to answer it!  Seeing them getting along so well and having fun always reassures me!  I truly believe that if they are enjoying themselves like this then it doesn’t matter what the album is doing, sale and chart wise.  Beyond this entertainment, I also learned some things.

I learned that the band doesn’t consider the shows they are doing now as “the big tour”.  They didn’t mention when that would start but did say soon.  Is it wrong of me to wish that the big tour starts in the UK?  When talking about tour dates, they did say that they were trying to get dates firm for the US again starting in September.  Good to know!  Must start saving as soon as I return!  They also mentioned Antony Price when talking about the clothing that will be used for this big tour.  Again, is it wrong for me to be excited by the idea of them going back to their roots?  Of course, their use of social media was discussed.  John repeated his idea that social media has allowed the fans to not only be in contact with them but with each other.  (Note to readers:  Rhonda blogged about this before.)  They also said how this format allows them to be in contact with fans in a way that is much more COMFORTABLE for them.  Hmm…something to think about!  Speaking of thinking…

One of the themes that seemed to come again and again during this was where the new album fits with the rest of Duran’s history.  Musically, Nick said that this album couldn’t have happened without Red Carpet Massacre.  That really got me thinking and I really wished that someone could have asked him a follow up question.  I don’t think that RCM taught them something new in terms of music or in terms of technology so why did RCM have to happen?  Is it an attitude thing?  Is it that they had to make something like that with “big time producers” of the day to realize that they should just be themselves?  What?  Then, when asked about how the new songs were fitting in with the old songs live, the answer was that they fit in seamlessly as they were done with the same tools.  That fascinates me, especially after Rhonda mentioned how she didn’t even notice how many new songs were played.  Could this be the reason?  If so, that pleases me.  Of course, they also talked about how they do try to change some of their classics to make them fresh.  Simon talked about how they changed the intro to Planet Earth and how that was really working for them. 

Lastly, there were discussions about how the business had changed and what advice they would give to new, upcoming artists.  Roger talked about how important it was to have a great live performance because nothing can replace that and I completely agree.  John talked about some of the things that helped Duran.  First, he talked about how there was this relationship between their managers and MTV and through this relationship came the idea of doing videos in exotic locations.  He, then, jokingly, asked what youtube would like to see.  He also mentioned that EMI, their record label in the UK, would tell Capitol, their US record label what to do and that this wouldn’t happen now for British bands.  Clearly, they made it seem much more difficult to become successful now. 

This program had a bit of everything.  It had some laughs like when John talked about how many times U2 has used the same, classic 4 chords in their songs and Duran hadn’t indicating more creativity.  It also gave me a bit to think about, including Duran’s history and the music business today.  Now, if I could have just figured out a way to record it in order to keep it with the rest of my Duran collection…

-A

Loose Women

I apologize for the lateness of the blog.  I have gotten far behind the Duran happenings due to losing my beloved kitty.  I admit that I haven’t been very focused and have had lots of interruptions with people contacting me to express their condolences, which I completely need and appreciate.  Nonetheless, I did have a chance to see the band on the UK’s Loose Women and enjoyed every minute of it.  I only watched it once and admit that I didn’t hear every statement made but I did have a few comments.  Go figure.

I think many Duranies were excited about this particular show because, I believe, it is the first one where we have seen Duran perform a new song, their current single, “All You Need Is Now.”  Now, I can only imagine that playing a song for the first time in front of an audience might be unnerving.  I know that I saw them perform “Night Runner” at the fan show in June of 2007, at what was probably their first performance of that song.  Based on that performance, I did not expect much as that early performance of “Night Runner” seemed to me to be awkward for the band.  They did not seem at all comfortable.  Simon, in particular, seemed to be having a hard time figuring out how or when to move.  To me, this indicated that the band wasn’t all that comfortable with the new album and the direction that they were taking.  Therefore, I thought that this performance might be equally as telling about how they are feeling with their new material.  Based on what I saw, they are COMPLETELY comfortable with it.  They feel good about it!  Simon seemed to know exactly what to do with himself during the song, physically.  John and Simon kept sneaking glances at each other in a “look at how cool this is” fashion.  The chorus was a particular high note with the vocals of Simon, John, Anna and Dom blending together nicely.  Overall, they seemed happy.  I can’t be more happy that they are happy with this new music.  This makes me truly looking forward to a tour and seeing this song, in particular, live.  Of course, there was a lot more to the show then just this performance.

The fun, having-a-good-time feel ran through the interviews, especially when all four of them were being interviewed at the same time.  I had a hard time following because so many people were talking and laughing at once!  I noticed that they were smiling the whole time.  I don’t think I have ever seen Nick smile so much at one time!  Of course, I had a good laugh, as well, when Simon struggled to come out after his introduction as it appears as if he might fall!  He handled it well but I know that I was entertained by the moment.  Besides the solid performance and the carefree spirit of the interviews, I did gleam a bit of information as well.

There were three comments that I took note of.  First, I noticed that the interviewers said that the official release in February was to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Planet Earth, their first single.  Fascinating.  This was a rumor a couple of months ago and now appears that it might really be true.  I even blogged about it at the time!  When I first blogged about it, I wasn’t too keen on the idea.  Now, I’m not sure.  I like the idea of having AYNIN have a separate release date to show its significance but I also like the idea of connecting the new with the old.  After all, isn’t this album about celebrating the classic spirit of Duran Duran?  Besides, AYNIN will have a separate date with the early downloadable release next Tuesday via iTunes.  It seems more like a win now.  Second, I noticed that when asked about Mark Ronson being a fan, John commented that it was a lot better than being with a non-fan.  Hmm…is that a comment about Timbaland, Timberlake, or even Nate Hills from RCM?!  I don’t know but it is keeping me thinking.  Lastly, there was a question about Andy.  The question came from a fan who had emailed in and basically asked them if they would take Andy back if he wanted to come back.  John didn’t answer that.  Instead, he said that Andy didn’t leave twice, technically, as the interviewer had said.  That really makes me think about what he means by that!!!

Overall, the show did what it was supposed to do.  I want to see more performances of the new material.  I want to see them enjoying themselves, each other and the music.  I also want more information in regards to those statements I mentioned above.  Dang that band for keeping my attention on them and what they are doing!  Luckily, more shows and interviews are supposed to follow!  I cannot wait!!!

-A

The Today Show

This morning I got up early to watch Duran Duran on the Today Show.  I had been looking forward to this ever since they announced it.  I love to watch interviews with the guys as I always feel that they respond with good humor and intelligence.  Good interviews allow me to get a sneak peek at who they are as people and how they interact with each other.  Then, of course, I appreciate all promotion for a new album, tour, etc. as it works to get me more and more excited for what is coming next!

Well, this interview provided me with some excitement about the upcoming album as I loved hearing another snippet of the song, “All You Need Is Now” and always like hearing when they say that they plan on being musical for the rest of their lives.  I could also *squee* a little about how good they looked and how happy they seemed.  That said, I found myself getting frustrated by how Duran Duran was represented here (and in most interviews here in the U.S.).

This entire interview was framed by the 1980s and their teen idol status then.  Yes, I acknowledge that they made their mark in the 1980s and, yes, I can admit that they were teen idols then.  Yet, they have done so much more since 1980s.  I am not expecting the brief 5-6 minute interview to show clips from all eras of Duran’s history but I do think it would be nice to show more than 10 seconds of a live clip from 2008-2009, which is all they showed after 1984.  No wonder that the general public believes that they no longer exist.  The images show that they were a functioning band between 1981-1984 (Planet Earth to the Reflex) in this case.  Then, they show them playing ONE show in recent years.  Okay, yes, they mentioned that they were coming out with a new album but were any questions focused on this?  Nope.  There was no mention of Mark Ronson, even.  There were questions on their massive success in the 1980s, videos, etc.  The only current questions really were whether or not they play to be involved with music for the rest of their lives and the use of the internet.  Their response about the internet was so general and begged to have more questions asked.  How are they using the internet?  How is it changing the music industry?  Not only didn’t I get any follow up questions on that, I didn’t even get a question about touring.  What a lost opportunity.  Obviously, the interviewer could have asked many other questions not shown but still the show chose not to showcase the current status of the band in any real way.  Instead, we heard how the interviewer and her partner were fans. 

Do I believe that the interviewer and her partner on the show were fans?  I don’t know.  I suppose it depends on how you define “fan”.  Do I think that the female anchor liked songs like the Reflex?  Sure. Since there was no mention of Duran’s history after 1984 or her status as a fan after that song, the viewers are left to believe that Duran dropped off the face of the planet then.  Ugh.  Did I need the ten second clip of her explaining to them that she had waited a long time to meet them?  Nope.  I would have preferred a follow up to the internet question or a question about…the album!  Plus, I have to admit that I have NO desire to see pictures of people from 1989.  I don’t.  What is the point of including that?  To mock the 1980s?  Yippee.  Then, there is the male anchor.  He tries to seem like a fan as well because he knows Simon’s name but then seeks confirmation.  If he was a fan, he wasn’t a very big fan.  I suspect that most serious Duran fans can name every member, past and present.

Okay, enough complaining.  I’ll try to focus on the idea of how good they looked and how much I liked the clip of AYNIN!

-A

Behind the Music

I apologize for the late blog entry today.  I wanted to wait to respond to the airing of Behind the Music, which aired tonight in the U.S.  First, let me say that I always enjoy watching shows featuring Duran and I especially like documentary-type programs.  It is pretty funny that I do since I feel like I could tell the history as well or better than the typical documentary, especially since they are pretty predictable.  Most Duran documentaries feature the following:  Why Nick and John formed the band, getting Andy from a Melody Maker ad, Simon’s audition in the leopard skin pants, the use and success from videos, Nile Rodgers, Power Station and Arcadia, Roger and Andy leaving, Ordinary World, John’s drug use, John’s leaving and now the reunion.  This was the first one I have seen since Red Carpet Massacre, however.

The original Behind the Music was one of my favorite Duran Duran documentaries as I felt like they had captured most of the important elements of their history, but, more importantly, they had captured the hysteria of the fandom and placed Duran in their rightful place, historically.  That said, I was dubious about how this new remastered one (interesting that they call it “remastered”, by the way) would be.  I enjoyed the program and was pleased to see that some of the more annoying elements of the original had been removed, including the bad rumor about Simon almost drowning during the making of the Wild Boys video.  I, of course, loved the new parts just because I’m dying for any and all footage of the band in their current state.  That said, I thought that the show’s editing and production could have been better.  They kept parts that I don’t understand.  For example, why keep Simon saying that he missed John?  That statement is out of date.  Why didn’t they ask Roger anything from their early history?  During the original, Roger did not appear but now his voice was noticeably missing.  Certainly they could have edited in some statements from him.  Overall, I just don’t feel like they blended the two parts together well.  They wanted to make it a smooth program but ignoring the fact that some interviews were done in 1998 and others in 2010 seems stupid.  Why not just have a part one and a part two?  Obviously, part one wouldn’t necessarily end the way the original ended but they could have ended part one right before the reunion and start part two at that moment.  It is a logical separation. 

The new part was mixed for me.  It started with the reunion and how the idea formed after John left.  Nick and Simon commented about how they had to tell Warren that he wasn’t a part of the future of Duran.  Simon, in particular, seems reflective about this.  Then, Rob Sheffield, the Rolling Stone writer, commented about how this was bittersweet for the fans as we had gratitude towards him.  Obviously, there were and are fans who love Warren and then there are others who were happy to see him go.  I’m not sure that Rob’s comment captures those feelings.  Then, the show moves forward to talk about their plan to tour and to show record companies that there was a demand for them.  This part did remind me of the excitement that the reunion, Astronaut and the tour, that followed, had.  From there, the show skimmed the surface of the controversial topics of the rejection of Reportage, Andy’s departure and RCM.  The narration did not dive into those issues and stuck to the least problematic versions.  While I understand that, in a way, I would have loved for the producers to go further, to go deeper like a real documentary.  Obviously, some interesting statements were made, but not enough to draw a serious conclusion.  First about Andy, Simon said that he was becoming very difficult to work with and that the whole band felt that.  Then, Roger said that it was a “ticking bomb” that they had all been feeling for over a year.  John ended the discussion by saying that they were moving in different directions.  Hmm…As for Reportage and RCM, the Sony executive said that they need an album with a “vibrant beat”.  Simon said that the record label didn’t “get” Reportage and the fans didn’t want RCM.  He isn’t wrong, at least when it comes to the two authors of this blog.  The show ended at the present day with Duran working with Mark Ronson on AYNIN.

I loved the ending of the show and admit to being terribly excited by what I have heard about and from this new album.  Ronson does seem to match Duran well and, clearly, he is an “ultimate Duran Duran fan”.  😀  Of course, the show leads the viewer to think that this is the time for the next wave of Duran success, whatever that might mean.  I obviously have no idea if this is true or not and won’t know for awhile.  What I’m hoping for is that this album is one that they like and are proud of.  This will help the fans to return as well.  One thing I noticed tonight was the number of fans watching and talking about it on message boards and social networking sites.  Clearly, the fans are starting to pay attention and are starting to get excited!

-A

And So It Begins….(again!)

Have you heard the news?  Duran Duran recorded an interview yesterday (that would be Tuesday) for the Today Show here in the US.  The show date is November 13th, which is a Saturday.   I was ecstatic to see that they’re finally doing interviews – assumably for the new album, which is great news!!!

Where I live, the show airs beginning at 5am on Saturday.  It just so happens that I will have not only my closest friends here that weekend, but also my blogging-partner-in-crime, so we’ll be doing a joint blog that day on our reactions from the show I am sure.  I can’t wait to see the band again, and what makes this airing even more special is that my closest friends, all of whom I’ve met as a result of being involved in this godforsaken community.   I almost never have the opportunity to experience real “Duranie” moments with my friends, unless it’s at a show – because two of my friends live in the midwest, and the other lives in New Jersey.  They’ll all be here with me that weekend because as the resident old lady of the group – I turn 40  this Sunday.  They are coming out next week to help soften the blow.   I really can’t seem to decide if I’m more excited about seeing a Duran Duran interview, or if I’m genuinely more excited that I’ll get to make comments, point and laugh, and probably squeal in delight at the interview right along with my three friends here in my own living room.  

That’s the beauty of our community.  We all came together for the love of a band, yet our friendships surely transcend the “life” of the band at this point.  No, we’re not all going to be best friends, but I feel so incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon the whole lot of you, and even more so that I’ve found some of the most wonderful friends within this crazy community of ours.  Sure, there’s an amazing amount of competitive, cheap and petty behavior that goes on at times, and yes – I’ve met more than my fair share of people that I feel need a “crazy” certificate; but on the other hand, to meet all of them has made my life so much more colorful.   To think that just six short years ago I’d found DuranDuranFans.com, and since then I’ve organized a convention, started a daily blog, found a fabulous group of women to lean on during some of the roughest times of my life, not to mention finding a fantastic writing partner…. I’ve had a good run so far, and I’m looking forward to more!

Hold on tight, because this show is about to get on the road!

-R